Sunday, May 26, 2024

MP Tobias Ellwood resigns over Afghanistan controversy

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Fidel Rahmati
Fidel Rahmatihttps://www.khaama.com
Fidai Rahmati is the editor and content writer for Khaama Press. You may follow him at Twitter @FidelRahmati

Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood has resigned as the chair of a Commons committee due to criticism of his comments about Afghanistan.

Former defence minister Tobias Ellwood faced backlash in July after suggesting that Afghanistan had improved under the Taliban’s rule. This controversy raised the possibility of a no-confidence vote against him by fellow members of the Defence Select Committee.

Following the controversy, Ellwood voluntarily stepped down as chair and will no longer be on the committee.

Initially, Ellwood defended his comments, claiming that Afghanistan had achieved a level of stability distinct from past conflicts.

Later, he apologized, acknowledging the inaccuracy of his statements, originally posted on social media during his visit to Helmand province.

In a social media post, the MP argued that Afghanistan, tired of years of conflict, had opted for a more authoritarian leadership in exchange for stability. He called for the UK to re-engage with the Taliban government, reopen the British embassy in Kabul, and downplayed distant criticism’s impact on women’s rights.

Ellwood also shared a video claiming improved security, reduced corruption, and a nearly eliminated opium trade.

He claimed that security had significantly improved, corruption had decreased, and the opium trade had ended. Ellwood’s statements, made after his trip to Afghanistan, triggered widespread reactions. He apologized, stating that his remarks during his visit to Helmand were a “mistake.”

According to reports, this British Parliament representative resigned from his position before stepping down.

In his resignation statement posted on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, Ellwood expressed belief in the support of the “majority” of the committee. Nevertheless, he recognized that, lacking unanimous backing, his presence would be a distraction.

Ellwood stated, “I have a strong voice on defence and security, but I do not always get it right. My summer communications, advocating for increased international engagement in Afghanistan, were criticized and reflected poorly on the committee.”

In a statement released by Tobias Ellwood, he expressed deep regret for his decision. He took pride in his efforts and contributions as the UK Parliament’s Defence Committee Chair.

It is worth noting that Mr Ellwood’s comments faced criticism from human rights activists, women’s groups, and some fellow Conservative Party members within the cross-party Defence Committee.

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